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June 21, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Miftah tries to reassure country as clock ticks on IMF deal
• Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on June 20, 2022 sounded confident about reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)in a day or so for the revival of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and vowed to provide income tax relief to those with up to Rs1.2 million annual earnings.
• Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Senate standing committee on finance, the minister said he hoped to reach an agreement in a day or so with IMF staff on the revival of its programme that had been suspended after the previous government reneged on its commitments.
• He also agreed to the suggestion that the government should not tax owners of open plots for `deemed` rental income until they were given complete possession of the plots after development by the housing societies
2. Balochistan budget session put off over `internal differences`
• Presentation of the annual budget for Balochistan for the fiscal year 2022-23 was delayed for another day reportedly after some details could not be finalised on June 20, 2022.
• However, there were also reports that certain ruling party MPAs had objected to the allocation of massive funds for the development schemes of a senior minister.
• The budget session was postponed after Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo sent a summary to the acting governor at the eleventh hour to delay the session by one day.
• Such a situation has rarely ever occured in the past in the parliamentary history of Balochistan that a scheduled budget session has been deferred. Earlier, the finance department had fixed June 17 for presenting the budget, but two days ago, a fresh date was announced.
3. President returns NAO bill, says it will promote graft
• In line with his PTI`s stance, President Dr Arif Alvi on June 20, 2022 did not give his assent to a bill regarding amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), terming it `regressive that will cripple long arm of the law and promote corruption in the country`.
• On Sunday, the president had returned electoral reforms bill unsigned.
• The two bills were approved by the National Assembly and Senate last month and were sent to the president for approval. However, Mr Alvi sent them back to the government unsigned on June 4.
• In response to the president`s refusal to approve the bills, the government convened a joint sitting of the parliament on June 9 and the two bills were approved by the joint sitting the same day
4. Covid-19 positivity in Karachi, Hyderabad over 10pc
• Covid-19 rears its ugly head again as the country has reported the highest number of cases over the past around 80 days, with the positivity ratio in Karachi and Hyderabad surpassing 10 per cent.
• National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) member Dr Shahzad Ali Khan said the rising number of cases showed that effectiveness of the vaccine was reducing because of the time lapse and suggested that people go for the booster shots.
• He said possible reasons for the upsurge are waning of vaccine immunity after six months, avoiding booster doses, virus mutations into more virulent type causing higher infectivity, going back to almost normal lifestyle in crowded places in Karachi, Hyderabad and Islamabad, increasing international and local travelling, less care by people about social distancing and masks, and seasonal pattern like flu as Covid-19 belongs to the same flu family
5. Russia becomes China`s energy lifeline
• China ramped up crude oil imports from Russia in May, customs data showed on Monday, helping to offset losses from Western nations scaling back Russian energy purchases over the invasion of Ukraine.
• The spike means Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become China`s top oil provider as the West sanctions Moscow`s energy exports.
• The world`s second-biggest economy imported around 8.42 million tonnes of oil from Russia last month a 55 percent rise on-year.
• Beijing has refused to publicly condemn Moscow`s war and has instead exacted economic gains from its isolated neighbour.
• It imported 7.82 million tonnes of oil from Saudi Arabia in May